Dubai from the Burj Khalifa, from where you can see the end of the city as we know it. Beyond is desert . . .
Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

etran finatawa

etran finatawa Content tagged as etran finatawa.

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Tinariwen: Aman Iman/Water is Life (Filter)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Tinariwen: Aman Iman/Water is Life (Filter)

The previous album Amassakoul by these extraordinary musicians and desert tribesmen from the southern Sahara was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2006 and turned up in quite a few critics picks of last year. If anything, this album -- dense, driving, intense, poetic and shot through with mercurial, stinging guitar work -- is superior to...

Various: The Rough Guide to Africa Blues (Elite)

Various: The Rough Guide to Africa Blues (Elite)

Many decades ago now Paul Oliver wrote his then-definitive and still useful The Story of the Blues (Penguin, 1969). My recollection was that at the time there was also a tie-in double album which he compiled, and which I taped from a friend's copy. The startling opening track -- startling to me anyway -- was by the Fra Fra tribesmen from...

Malouma; Nour (Harmonia Mundi) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Malouma; Nour (Harmonia Mundi) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The shrink-wrap that this exceptional album came in provides the clue: "blues woman mauritanienne, transcende les frontieres musicales". And Amen -- or more correctly Allahu Akbar -- to all that. Malouma isn't "blues" in the same way that say Etran Finatawa or Tinariwen (see tags) are: if you are desperately looking for a...

Various: Marabi Africa (Marabi/Ode)

Various: Marabi Africa (Marabi/Ode)

This excellent 17-track compilation is an ideal introduction to the diverse and exciting music coming out of various parts of Africa these days. It also opens with Nebine, the best track off that thrilling album Nour by the Mauritanian singer Malouma (see tag) whose electrifying Sahara blues is giving Tinariwen a run for their money in the...

Bedouin Jerry Can Band: Coffee Time (Southbound)

Bedouin Jerry Can Band: Coffee Time (Southbound)

The band name and album title here explain it all: this is a group of Arab musicians whose instrumentation -- alongside traditional instruments like the local lyre, gritty fiddle and various flute-like pipes -- includes discarded jerry cans used for tuned percussion (and an ammunition box, which tells you much about the volatile world they...

Various: Musiques Metisses: Le Sahel (Marabi)

Various: Musiques Metisses: Le Sahel (Marabi)

When the Buena Vista Social Club burst into public consciousness every major record company starting looking at its catalogue -- and wondrous to report, they too had recorded Cuban artists down the decades! Suddenly Cuban music was everywhere. The sceptical among us might look at this compilation of "desert blues" from the Sahara...

An Emerald City, An Emerald City (Monkey Records)

An Emerald City, An Emerald City (Monkey Records)

This extraordinary four-track EP by an Auckland band which is long on instrumental elegance and very short on pretention is a diamond, and like a precious gem you can turn it many ways and appreciate different refractions. These swooning, grand and widescreen instrumentals have something in common with the great US band Explosions in the Sky...

Various: Marabi Africa 2 (Marabi)

Various: Marabi Africa 2 (Marabi)

The first compilation Marabi Africa won plaudits at Elsewhere because, if nothing else, Marabi was the label which brough the great Malouma to world attention -- and so this sequel commands attention immediately. Once more there is an impressively broad but coherent cross-section of artists represented, some of whom have appeared at...

ETRAN FINATAWA INTERVIEWED (2006): From sands to stadiums

ETRAN FINATAWA INTERVIEWED (2006): From sands to stadiums

Etran Finatawa have band members from two nomadic groups from around Niger, and play music which sounds like the raw electric blues from Chicago in the Fifties and Sixties. Their electrifying music is tough, but full of yearning. It may have a hypnotic quality which conjures up the open spaces of their region, but it also rocks mightily....

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars:Rise and Shine (Cumbancha/Ode)

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars:Rise and Shine (Cumbancha/Ode)

These guys certainly have a great back-story: in six years they went from languishing in a refugee camp, through being the subject of a doco (see clip below) to Oprah. They appeared on the Blood Diamond soundtrack, their self-titled debut album won widespread praise and for this one they went to New Orleans and recorded with producer Steve...

Tamikrest: Adagh (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Tamikrest: Adagh (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

As we know, for every breakthrough band there are a dozen or more who can successfully coattail. Tamikrest come from the same area -- geographical and musical -- as the great Tinariwan and Etra Finatawa so create a kind of hypnotic desert blues . But where their two predecessors have established a genre and staked out territory within it, the...

Dirt Music: BKO (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Dirt Music: BKO (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

In a way this album was inevitable -- although has come from an unexpected source. The whole "Sahara Blues" style of Etran Finatawa, Tinariwen and more recently Tamikrest has always lent itself to being brought to wider attention by collaborations with European musicians. The co-joining of Anglo-alt.folkers Tuung with...

Terakaft: Aratan N Azawad (World Village)

Terakaft: Aratan N Azawad (World Village)

Just as John Mayall's bands spawned others when players left the ranks, so it seems the desert blues out of the sub-Sahara is an ever-flowering plant: this group -- which formed in 2001 -- contains two former members of Tinariwen and inevitably work in a not dissimilar musical territory. This is their third album so they are dogging very...

Tinariwen: Amassakoul (Wrasse/Shock): BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Tinariwen: Amassakoul (Wrasse/Shock): BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Tinariwen were from a group of stateless wanderers who lived at the whim of weather and changing political climates in the greater Sahara, and were educated in the language of armed struggle. In the 80s they developed their music of exile. But just as blues singers from America's south found acoustic guitars didn't cut it in the hard-edged...

Etran Finatawa: Introducing Etran Finatawa (World Music Network) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Etran Finatawa: Introducing Etran Finatawa (World Music Network) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

From the same emotional source and geographical location -- the sub-Sahara around Niger -- as the thrilling and now well-known Tinariwen comes this equally extraordinary band. Their mesmerising guitars have no exact counterpart in Western blues, folk or rock (although every now and again something eerily familiar pops out) and that alone --...

Emmanuel Jal & Abdel Gadir Salim: Ceasefire (World Network/Elite)

Emmanuel Jal & Abdel Gadir Salim: Ceasefire (World Network/Elite)

This charismatic meltdown of sounds from the Sudan (an area the size of Western Europe) involves softly-sung rap, a yearning for peace and freedom by these two vocalists who come from different areas and political sides of the divided country, traditional instruments such as nay (flute) along with saxophone and electric guitars, and is suffused...

Various: Planet Rock (Rough Guide/Elite)

Various: Planet Rock (Rough Guide/Elite)

World Music compilations are often pretty dodgy affairs and this one is no exception. So I'm not really suggesting you might want an album that starts in a place where Cambodia psychedelic rock meets America, then heads off to Algeria, the Sahara and Niger (the great Tinariwen and Etran Finatawa respectively however, see tags), the States for...

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